THE number of people arriving in Spain aboard cruise ships rose to 4.5 million in the first months of this year, according to data from the country’s port authorities.
Authority statistics showed around 1,990 docked in Spanish ports in the months up to and including June, an increase of 251 on last year’s figures.
Ornella Chacon, president of the authority, said efforts should be made to promote the industry.
“Cruise passengers generate direct and indirect jobs in local economies which also improves the quality of live for thousands of families,” Chacon said.
The Canary Islands led the way in the increases, with the number of cruise passengers arriving there increasing by 35.6 per cent to 1.3 million.
They were followed by Spain’s Mediterranean ports at 19.9 per cent to 2.76 million and its Atlantic ports with 14.8 per cent.
Cruises have been a divisive issue in Spain. Protestors demonstrated against the arrival of the Symphony of the Seas in Palma in Mallorca earlier this year.
Locals in Almeria City have previously complained about the impact of ships arriving in its port on their health and wellbeing.
Those in favour of the ships argue it boosts local economies and increases wealth while those against cite environmental concerns and ‘touristification’.
The latter term refers to price increases that follow rising tourist numbers and small areas often having to cope with more people.